Algeria: Attempts to Confiscate Wealth of Former Regime Figures After Their Imprisonment

Sunday, 16 June, 2019 - 09:45
Algiers - Boualem Goumrassa

A plan was put forward in Algeria on Saturday to implement measures in cooperation with Western governments to restore deposits and confiscate properties belonging to elements of the former regime, who have been imprisoned in cases of wasting public funds and receiving bribes.

A source in the Supreme Court told Asharq Al-Awsat that the government has contacted European countries, with which it has agreements in the field of judicial cooperation, in order to confiscate properties and seize deposits of officials and businessmen who were recently imprisoned.

France, Switzerland and Spain are among the countries concerned. A number of officials have established companies and bank accounts and real estates there.

Algeria “intends to resort to the United Nations to exploit mechanisms to recover the money, in case they were unlawfully obtained by some individuals,” the source added. Those include members of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s family, the first of whom is his youngest brother al-Said, Sellal, his daughter and his wife, the four prominent Bouteflika-linked businessmen known locally as “the Coninav brothers” and several officials who were under Bouteflika’s custody since 1999, the source added.

The talks took place after the president of the Supreme Court, which has been pursuing senior officials under Bouteflika, pledged to fight corruption and hold those responsible accountable, no matter what their positions are.

Chairman of Algiers’ Bar Association Abdelmadjid Selini said the fight against corruption “is a very significant issue, yet the priority is to restore people’s funds.”

“Imprisoning those involved in the looting of the public fund should not be the target. Instead, the state should look for the best ways to recover stolen funds,” Selini stressed.

He was speaking in Algiers in an event during which Judge Abdul Rashid Tebbi was appointed as head of the Supreme Court, replacing Judge Slimane Boudi. This appointment came in line with judicial proceedings, described as “historical.”

The Public Prosecution referred the cases of former Prime Ministers Abdelmalek Sellal and Ahmed Ouyahia, eight former ministers and two former governors to the Supreme Court on charges of corruption.

Sellal and Ouyahia were both put in jail along with a former minister and another placed under judicial supervision.

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